'Free' Party Drinks Cooler

When hosting an outdoor gathering at you home, dig out your wheelbarrow, line it with aluminum foil and then fill with ice and add your bottled drinks, waters, etc. It holds a lot, stays cool for a long time and when the party is over, dump the ice and water into a flower bed. No mess and no money spent for some fancy ‘cooler’.

–tip submitted by AS, WY


Mildew Mess

I recently moved in to an apartment where there is a nice shower, but the bottom of the shower curtain was black with some kind of slimy stuff, which was identified as mildew. I didn’t know what to do about it, but a friend at work asked me if the curtain was hemmed on the bottom. I said, “Yes, why do you ask?”  She said that the hem on the bottom will trap water and that’s where the mildew will grow. She said to take a pair of scissors and cut off a couple of inches of the bottom of the shower curtain. The black stuff will be gone and with no place to hide, it wouldn’t grow back again!

She was absolutely right. I cut the bottom of the curtain off and have had no mildew since.

–tip submitted by AK, ND


'Instant' Charcoal Grill

(I wouldn’t say this is ‘instant’, but it’s pretty close.)

A reader writes: If you are short on grill space and happen to have a kid’s metal wagon handy, you can have an extra charcoal grill in just a few minutes.

Line the wagon bed with aluminum foil and then add several inches of sand.  Take a rack out of your oven and place it near the wagon bed. Make a nice mound of the charcoal and light it. When the ashes turn grey, spread the charcoal out and then place the oven rack over the bed of the wagon: Instant grill! The edges of the wagon box will hold the rack above the coals and then you can cook the hot dogs or burgers as you choose.

When your dinner is over, use a slotted metal spoon to pick the charcoal out of the sand and put it in a bucket of water to eliminate any fire hazard. Clean out the sand in a safe area and soak down with water just in case there are any small embers left. Remove the foil, save it for the next time if you can, and then give the kid back the wagon when it’s cooled off!

The rack can be soaked clean in the bathtub or just put it in a plastic garbage bag after it’s cooled down. Pour in ½ cup of ammonia, seal the bag and let it set the next day in the hot sun. The ammonia will loosen all the crud and it will rinse right off.

–tip submitted by YP, CA


Vacation Plant Saver

If you plan to be gone for a week on vacation, it’s possible to keep your houseplants watered without having someone come in to your home to tend to them. Simply put the pots in the bathtub and then run the water in the stopped up tub about 1/3 of the way up the pots. Close the curtains so the sun is blocked, and then you can be gone for 6 to 7 days without harm to the plants.

–tip submitted by CH, MN


Soda Can/Bottle Waterer

If you have a soda bottle or can with a screw top lid, you have the makings of a nice soaker for the garden.

Use a nail to make 20 – 30 holes around the sides of the bottle or can and then fasten a hose connector with a washer to the bottle. (I think mine used the 1/2” size.) Screw the bottle onto the hose and turn the water on low. It works quite well, and is cheap!

–tip submitted by TW, IA

(I’m going to give this one a try–I would think that a water bottle should work as well. I have the connectors for the garden hoses–I think I will have to adjust the flow of water way down for it to soak. With the water pressure up, I’m thinking it would be like a mini-geyser!)


Small Table Storage

My husband purchased a small folding table (card table) for me to use for doing the monthly bookwork for our business. We live in a very small apartment and storage space is at a premium; there is no extra room to keep anything.

I asked him where he was going to keep the folding table. He showed me his simple solution that even I can handle: He went into the bedroom and moved the dresser out about 4 inches and pushed the folded up table along the wall and moved the dresser back a little. I can’t tell the difference in space and the table is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ until I need it again.

–tip submitted by JT & MS, WY


Razor Blade Safety Hint

I occasionally use single edge razor blades when cleaning an area for painting, such as along the edges of windowpanes and also for scraping paint off of craft items I wish to retouch.

Storing the blades can be a problem since they are very sharp, and one can get cut before they even realize it. I did find that I can take one of those metal or plastic clips that are used in an office to hold papers, and clip the blade into the clip and hang it on the wall. I know where it is and I also know that little fingers cannot get to it and cut themselves.

–tip submitted by PK, MT


New Use For Bobby Pins

We cleaned out my aunt’s apartment recently and found several cards of ‘bobby pins’. Although I haven’t seen them used for years, my mom told me to take them home and use them in place of straight pins when I hem things I make for craft fairs. They work wonderfully for this–and no more poked fingers!

–tip submitted by SU, OR


Inexpensive Herb Dryer

I dry my herbs for teas on a sweater rack.  Good air all around.

–tip submitted by HS, SD

(Now that’s what you call a dual purpose item!)

Do you have any tips or ideas you would like to share? Email them to Paula at [email protected]  Be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.

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